Tracy Harrison on Clay and Pottery

One of the many things in my bucket list that hopefully I can do this year is learning pottery. With my current interest in tea pots and tea sets (thanks to my friend Grace).. I’ve been imagining serving and drinking in my own, made by me tea set! Oh what a sight in my imagination! I couldn’t even describe the joy of opening my cupboard and seeing the work of my hands and most of all, sipping a delicious tea from it. Feels like heaven to me!

On Jan. 1st of this year my husband decided to go on a family trip to Salt Spring Island (I will be back!). Salt Spring Island is the artist’s haven where artists choose to build their studios and galleries and continue to be inspired. When he told me that’s where we are going.. I couldn’t believe what he just said. And to top it up even more, we stayed at Frida’s Villa (pictures and videos here) inspired by the works of Frida Kahlo. You couldn’t be more inspired! The Villa is full of artistry from all the tiny details to the huge acrylic paintings, handmade painted tiles, pottery, and woodwork all done by the owners.

Tracy Harrison on Clay and Pottery

Tracy Harrison Clay and Pottery
I just love the rawness and earthiness of these “Naked Raku” bowl (left). And the red and white  bowls (right) is pit fired which creates the smoke patterns.

When I heard from Ricky that she does clay and pottery, I know I have to meet her and talk to her, interview her.. I love meeting artists and know how they start, their inspiration and all that. So I did! She showed me her studio where she also teaches young kids to work with clay. Tracy has been doing clay for many years. She started as an apprentice with one of the best potters in Toronto and from there she mastered the art.

She showed me some of her works and was very kind to educate me on pottery.  Now my knowledge of it is more than just a bowl or a vessel but the work and artistry that goes with it is usually unnoticed. Just like any other art, this is tedious, requires patience and the love for it! I would never look at pottery today the way I did before.  I have so much appreciation to it now.  And I can’t wait to try my hands on the wheel! More than that there is all the other components to it like firing, glazing and many other techniques.

Tracy Harrison Clay and Pottery
Here’s more of Tracy’s serveware collection.

One of the techniques she uses is called “Raku”, originally from Japan.

Tracy Harrison Clay and Pottery
The one on the right with the swirl is one of my favourites!
Tracy Harrison Clay and Pottery
This blue is gorgeous!  She also does “Raku” pendants.

You’re not going to believe it.. (well.. I guess for me, as I have no clue until I met Tracy) for this one below, those impressions were horse hair! It melts and impresses itself onto the vessel.  If that interests you, here’s a video I found.  I was only able to picture it on my mind when I saw this.

Tracy Harrison Clay and Pottery
This vessel is smoke fired and comes hot out of the oven and then is wrapped in Emu feathers and horse hair.

Aside from clay and pottery, Tracy also does gigantic paintings on canvas using liquid acrylic and gold dusts from Thailand. I noticed this right away in the master’s bedroom entitled Emerald City. She also does black ink brush stroke, charcoal drawings, fiber optics and much more.

You can also see her work, an architectural ceramic at Salt Spring Island Library called the Salt Spring Library Story Dragon,  using144 clay tiles with inner row of tiles (throat to tail) painted by local children. (9 ft by 4 ft).

Tracy Harrison Clay and Pottery

For more works and current and future projects by Tracy Harrison, a multi-talented and amazing artist you can check out her website at http://www.artbyharrison.comTracy also teaches clay and pottery to children, creative and art therapy for adults.  For more information check out the workshops she offers.

Tracy, thank you for inspiring me.. Your colourful villa and your works inspired me to look beyond white and beige or black. Our world is colourful and so be it inside and outside of our home and our lives!

Live Art, Share Art, Be Art!

With Love,


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Anne you have done such a beautiful job sharing the work here and photographing it. Thanks so much – you are an inspiration! As artists we work primarily in isolation and if the interaction with the public is rare, as in my case as an Exhibition and Commissions Artist, we don’t get a lot of feedback on the work. So to get your feedback in this beautiful format was such a gift 🙂 A couple of notations – the red and white work in the top photo is pit fired which creates the smoke patterns and the one on the left (black and white) is called Naked raku where temporary slip/glaze combo creates smoke patterns. And the vase with horse hair is a smoke fired vase that comes hot out of the oven and then is wrapped in Emu feathers and horse hair in this case. Another notation is that I work with both children and adults – so you better get back here and make that teapot eh? And you can hand build a teapot in an afternoon without any previous experience, so you don’t have to wait to build up skills on a wheel. Do you recall the horse tea pot I showed you? That was hand built. Creatively Yours Tracy

    1. anneshetty says:

      Oh Tracy, thank you so much for your kind words! I really appreciate the time you spent with me to show your amazing works of art! You have inspired me in so many ways! And I always have a picture in my mind of your beautiful villas in Salt Spring Island. Till we meet again! 🙂

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